31 January 2007
It may be the shortest presidential campaign in history and Joe Biden has himself - and the blogosphere to blame.
Biden started the day by officially telling us on his new Web site what he'd been saying for weeks - he's running for president. No exploratory comittee nonesene. This is it.
Things got trickier after that.
The New York Observer ran a story about Biden in which the Delaware senator criticized the three top dogs in the Democratic race.
Biden attacked his opponents on several fronts, but all three got a blistering for their positions on the Iraq war.
Of Hillary Clinton's plan to cut support for Iraqi troops if no progress is made, Biden was bitingly critical:
"From the part of Hillary's proposal, the part that really baffles me is, `We’re going to teach the Iraqis a lesson.' We're not going to equip them? O.K. Cap our troops and withdraw support from the Iraqis? That's a real good idea."
Of Barack Obama and the war, Biden was dismissive:
“I don’t recall hearing a word from Barack about a plan or a tactic.”
Of John Edwards, Biden said he just doesn't have a clue about the war:
"John Edwards wants you and all the Democrats to think, 'I want us out of there,' but when you come back and you say, 'O.K., John what about the chaos that will ensue? Do we have any interest, John, left in the region?' Well, John will have to answer yes or no. If he says yes, what are they" What are those interests, John? How do you protect those interests, John, if you are completely withdrawn? Are you withdrawn from the region, John? Are you withdrawn from Iraq, John? In what period?
Then came the real trouble for Biden. In a comment about Obama, which sounds to me that it was meant to be complimentary but came off looking pretty bad, Biden said the following:
"I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy."
That set off the Faux News folks and Rush Limbaugh and Matt Drudge.
But it was not only a case of the right wing "opinion leaders' taking Biden's words out of context and having a field day.
The left wing blogsophere chimed in as well. Including Talking Points Memo, Atrios, and the granddaddy of the all - The Daily Kos.
As ABC News reports, Biden spent the day trying to explain his remarks, while - publicly at least - Obama didn't do much the snuff the fire.
Biden went back to the place where the trouble started, The New York Observer explaining his use of the word "clean" in describing Obama.
"My mother has an expression: clean as a whistle, sharp as tack. That's the context."
He also told the Observer that he called Obama, and said Obama didn't seem offended.
"So I called Barack and he said 'Joe you don't have to explain anything to me.'"
"Barack Obama is probably the most exciting candidate that the Democratic or Republican Party has produced, at least since I have been around. And he is fresh, he is new, he is insightful, and I really regret that some have taken totally out of context my use of the word 'clean.'"
I'm not sure if this is up there with Al Campanis, the Los Angeles Dodgers executive who lost his job a few years back for making clueless remarks that were deemed racially insensitive. I'm also not sure it's a Jimmy The Greek moment.
But it very well might have the same effect.
Once the blogosphere and the 24-hour newsertainment networks grab on to something like this, there's no telling where it will go. Much of the blogoshpere is taken up by ideologues who bend and twist the facts to fit their purpose. In this case Biden gave them all too much to work with.
And in a post-macaca world, he should have known better.
30 January 2007
Hillary Clinton leads all Democratic comers in Ohio, according to the latest Quinnipiac poll. And she leads her top GOP challengers as well, by just a little.
In the poll, Clinton is well ahead of the pack among Democrats at 38%. Barack Obama is second at 13% and John Edwards is third at 11%.
Giuliani leads McCain among Republicans, 30% to 22%, with Newt Gingrich polling third at 11%. Mitt Romney is left in the dust at 4%.
As in a few recent polls, the top Democrats dominate one-on-one faceoffs with Republicans.
Clinton tops Giuliani by three points and McCain by four.
Edwards also leads McCain, by three points. But McCain is ahead of Obama by three points.
For whatever reason there is no one-on-one matchup between Giuliani and either Obama or Edwards.
A Survey USA poll shows Rudy Giuliani (33%) and John McCain (32%) in a virtual tie in New Hampshire, with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney polling a strong third at 21%. All the other GOP candidates share the remaining 11%.
Among the Democrats, Hillary Clinton leads at 40%, while Barack Obama and John Edwards are tied for second place at 25%. Nine percent of those polled have another candidate in mind.
The political left has felt, with some legitimacy we might add, that the Democrats were swift-boated and flip-floppered right out of the White House in 2004 (with maybe a little election-day shennanigans thrown in).
They're not about to let it happen again in 2008.
Democracy for America, the grass-roots group that brought Howard Dean's campaign into prominence in '04, has begun a little payback for 2008 already.
They've put together a nearly three-minute blog ad questioning McCain's straight-talker image.
Take a look here.
29 January 2007
Chicago Sun-Times columnist Robert Novak, quoting a source in the Barack Obama camp, reports today that Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanual will back Hillary Clinton's bid for the Democratic nomination.
If true, the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for the 2006 elections would be the only major Illinois pol to favor Clinton over fellow Illinoisan Obama.
Emanual was a key member of the Bill Clinton administration and has been a long-time supporter of both Clintons.
Emanuel has not said who he will back.
LUKE-WARM REACTION TO HILLARY IN IOWA
The crowds were big, the response enthusiastic, but there is some evidence Hillary Clinton has a way to go in Iowa following her first campaign visit to the early-caucus state.
The Washington Post interviewed a panel of 14 Iowa Democrats who attended a Clinton appearance or two over the weekend, and the reaction to her was decidedly mixed.
The overall sentiment seemed to be that Clinton is tough, smart and not nearly as cold as she is portrayed in the media, though - if you read the comments - she clearly did not seal the deal with many.
28 January 2007
Before Hillary Clinton takes her seat in the Oval Office, she'd like George Bush to clean it up a bit.
Clinton, stumping in Iowa again today, said Bush must have the U.S. out of Iraq before he leaves office in January of '09.
"This was his decision to go to war with an ill-conceived plan and an incompetently executed strategy. .... The president has said this is going to be left to his successor. "I think it is the height of irresponsibility and I really resent it." -- Hillary Clinton as quoted the Associated Press.
The White House called Clinton's remarks a partisan attack that undermines the troops.
Biden's comments to the Associated Press were made to counter the latest Bush administration propoganda, which alleges the enemy in Iraq is becoming bolder because Americans have become weak-kneed about the war.
"It's not the American people or the U.S. Congress who are emboldening the enemy. It's the failed policy of this president - going to war without a strategy, going to war prematurely." -- Sen. Joe Biden
Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Republican hopeful for the White House, has opposed Bush on the war from the outset. The Vietnam veteran spoke unscripted, and from the heart this week as the Senate Foreign Relations Committee debated a resolution opposing Bush's troop escalation. Hagel challenged every senator to take a vocal, visible stand one way or the other, reminding them that they are dealing with "real lives."Newsweek has a profile of Hagel, and his rebel bid for the presidency, in this week's issue.
HUCKABEE (AGAIN) IS INAlthough it won't be officially, officially official until tomorrow when he files the papers, fomer Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee announced today on Meet the Press he will be running for president.
(If you click on the above link you'll have to sit through a 30-second commercial and about one minute of NBC's self promotion before you get to Huckabee- just a warning).
Huckabee told NBC's Tim Russert he's running because America "needs positive, optimistic leadership to turn the country around, to see a revival of our national soul."
THERE'S THAT NAME AGAIN
While Huckabee is one of a half-dozen or more Republicans trying to convince the party's base that he is the one, true conservative running for the '08 nomination, it was Jeb Bush who turned on the right-wing set yesterday at the Conservative Summit in Washington.
Former head of the RNC Ed Gillespie told the Washington Post Bush has only one thing stopping him from being a top-notch candidate for the GOP nomination - his last name.
"If he were former two-term governor Jeb Smith, he might be in Des Moines today."
A BROKERED CONVENTION, OR TWO?
It's been quite some time since the political parties have going to their national conventions without knowing who they would be nominating for president when it was all said and done.
Most pundits think the front-loaded primary season we will see early next year will bring about a nominee earlier than ever before. But Newsweek's Jonathan Alter said the jammed primary calendar might actually prolong the nominating season and could result in a old-fashioned nominating convention. Alter said momentum can carry a dark horse through a truncated primary season.
"If the time period after an early primary win is short enough, momentum can often propel a candidate to victory in states where he has nothing else going. I remember landing in Atlanta with Gary Hart in 1984, a few days after he shocked Walter Mondale in New Hampshire. A Hart staffer met the plane and I asked him how big an operation they had in Georgia. "You're looking at it," he said. Hart nearly took Georgia anyway, and he won Ohio, Florida, California and other states on a shoestring. -- Jonathan Alter of Newsweek
Conversely, he says, gaps in the primary schedule work against underdogs who have built up momentum.
"The same thing goes for McCain in 2000. He thrashed George W. Bush in New Hampshire and seemed headed for the nomination. But 18 long days lay between New Hampshire and South Carolina, enough time for Bush to claw (and slime) his way back." -- Jonathan Alter of Newsweek
27 January 2007
Newsweek has a new poll out on a wide range of issues, including presidential preferences for 2008.
The poll has a series of one-on-one matchups involving the top three candidates from both parties - Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards for the Dems and Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Mitt Romney for the Republicans.
The Dems win eight of the nine matchups, with Edwards the only Democrat to come out on the losing end in one matchup - by one point to Rudy Giuliani.
Clinton and Obama top McCain by six points, while Edwards finished 4 points ahead of the Arizona senator.
All three Democrats trounce Mitt Romney, with Edwards polling the strongest against the former Massachusetts governor. Edwards beats Romney by 34 points.
Giuliani puts up the stiffest fight against the top three Dems, losing to Obama and Clinton by three points and defeating Edwards by 1.
Just FYI, the current holder of the office has an approval rating of 30 in the Newsweek poll.
CLINTON WOWS 'EM IN IOWA
Clinton made her first campaign visit to Iowa today, and from the reports you'd never know she was fourth in the polling there behind Edwards, Obama and favorite-son candidate Tom Vilsack.
Clinton played to an enthusiastic, overflow crowd at a "town hall" appearance at a local high school, where, according to The Politico's Roger Simon, she ducked a question about Iraq.
Clinton met with a few dozen Iowa politicos separately as well, an event open to only one "pool" reporter - in this case The Wall Street Journal's Jackie Calmes. In that meeting, according to the report, Clinton didn't repudiate her 2002 vote to authorize President Bush to use force in Iraq. But hinted she'd like to have that one back.
“I’ve taken responsibility for my vote. But there are no do-overs in life. I wish there were. I acted on the best judgment I had at the time. I said this was not a vote for preemptive war. The president took my vote, and others’ votes, and basically misused the authority we gave him.” -- Sen. Hillary Clinton in Iowa
COOLER RECEPTION FOR RUDY IN COLD NEW HAMPSHIRE
The other presidential candidate from New York, Rudy Giuliani was in New Hampshire today where he addressed about 500 Republicans at a party convention. (George Pataki doesn't count because virtually no one takes him seriously and Mike Bloomberg would count except he keeps insisting he won't run).
Hotline described the reception as "subdued," though I saw a clip on TV and there seemed to be some enthusiasm in the room. Giuliani continued to insist he hasn't made up his mind about running yet.
26 January 2007
A number of second-tier presidential candidates have been making news lately.
Here's a wrap-up.
Iowapolitics.com reports former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thomson, running for the GOP nomination, has a three-pronged plan for Iraq:
1. separate the country into three distinct governments - Sunni, Shia and Kurds
2. Iraqis request continued U.S. presence there
3. one-third of all oil revenues should be given back to Iraqi citizens
Rep. Duncan Hunter of California announced his candidacy for the GOP nomination Thursday. Today, the Boston Globe reports Hunter was the first to hit the airwaves in New Hampshire with a TV ad.
Hotline reports all signs point to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee officially announcing his presidential bid this weekend. He has a national TV appearance lined up, followed by a series of stops in Iowa next week.
Hagel joked during the interview about teaming up with New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, a moderate Republican, and also floated the possibility of joining a bipartisan unity ticket with a Democrat -- with his name first, of course. -- Washington Post
Clinton is known by 94% of those polled, so she has little room to pick up new support. And her "net favorability rating is just +17.
On the GOP side, McCain has a four point lead of Giuliani (30% to 26%). However, Giuliani's "net favorability" rating is +68 compared with McCain's +45.
Time has two other articles on 2008 this week that are worth looking at. In one piece Time examines the factors behind the early start to the '08 race and the role that early start may have in setting candidate agendas and deciding their fate. The other piece examines eight keys to the '08 race.
Rolling Stone may see good things for Gore, but he's nowhere to be found on "The Fix" top-five list.
25 January 2007
24 January 2007
John Kerry confirmed today he is not running for Democratic nomination for president in 2008. The Boston Globe broke the story late this morning, citing sources, and Kerry made it official on the Senate floor this afternoon.
Kerry said he would stay in the Senate to fight President Bush's plans to escalate U.S. involvement in Iraq and to force the president to get all troops out of that country by early next year.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, chock full of presidential candidates, passed a non-binding resolution opposing the so-called troop "surge" this afternoon.
The Kerry story came at midday, giving the 24-hour "news" channels something to talk about. But how important is it really?
Kerry barely moved the meter in the presidential preference polls, and after sticking his foot in his mouth for the umpteenth time a couple of days before last November's election (remember the "botched joke"), no one in the Democratic Party really wanted to nominate the Massachusetts senator again.Since the November incident it's been clear Kerry would not garner much support for a presidential bid. It's to his benefit, though long overdue, that he realized it.
Earlier this week we posted results of the latest ABC News-Washington Post presidential preference poll, which showed Hillary Clinton far out in front of Barack Obama in the Democratic race and Rudy Giuliani with a seven point lead over John McCain on the GOP side.
Today, blogger/reporter Chris Cillizza - who publishes the Post's political blog The Fix - takes a closer look at the numbers that weren't broken out when the poll was released.
Both frontrunners do well in all sub-groups, but Cillizza found some spots of strength or weakness for Clinton and Giuliani.
Non-white voters prefer Clinton (56%) over Obama (16%). A little surprising since Obama is black and African Americans make up the largest share of the subgroup.
Clinton does better than Obama among women, but that advantage is decidedly smaller among married women and women who are Clinton's contemporaries. The New York senator does much better than Obama among young and unmarried women.
As for Giuliani, he polls stronger than McCain among conservatives,though he is seen by the pundits as the most-liberal of the GOP candidates.
And, according to Cillizza, Rudy is a big hit with the ladies - at least as a presidential choice. Perhaps a little surprising given the messy, public divorces Giuliani has been through.
23 January 2007
(Updating with commentary about Clinton's on-line chats)
The Politico reports that rather than cede the support of African American voters and donors to Barack Obama, Sen. Hillary Clinton will make a concerted effort to win their backing.
According to the new online political news site, Clinton is hoping to force Obama's hand by making a strong push at the African American vote.
As Politico reporter Ben Smith put it:
"It's a strategy that pushes Obama to decide just how black he can afford to be: Will he pitch himself to African-American voters as the black candidate, or hew to the post-racial line that's helped make him sensationally popular with white Democrats?"
CLINTON SETS FIRST MAJOR VISIT TO NEW HAMPSHIRE
The Manchester Union Leader reports Clinton has accepted the state Democratic Party's invitation to appear at the party's biggest annual fundraiser, the 100 Club, scheduled for March 10.
SECOND CLINTON 'CHAT' SET FOR TONIGHT
Clinton will hold her second on-line chat in two nights tonight at 7:00 PM EST. The first was last night. In reading the transcript from last night, one is reminded of the "public forums" President Bush subjects himself to once in a while, with handpicked guests asking vetted questions.
Here's an example from Clinton's chat last night:
"Our next question is from Matty in New York. Matty says, I am a 14-year-old class president from Armonk, New York. I have an interest in politics and one day aspire to be President. My question is what made you so inspirational, and why do you believe you should be President?"
The Washington Post reports the chats are part of a concerted effort by the Clinton campaign to humanize their candidate who often comes off as stiff, rehearsed and impersonal.
Here's the video from the senator's chat last night.
Is it just me, or does the senator come off as rehearsed and impersonal and trying really hard not to be stiff?
I guess this is good news for Mitt Romney.
Roll Call reports the former Massachusetts governor and current GOP presidential candidate will be endorsed by Dennis Hastert, the former House Speaker who presided over one of the most reviled Congresses in history.
WARNER AGAIN SAYS HE WONT RUN
Former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner told the Associated Press he is sticking by his earlier decision not to seek the Democratic presidential nomination in '08. Warner has recently been dogged by rumors that he might reconsider an earlier decision and get in the race.
Watching his poll ratings sag as the death toll in Iraq mounts, Arizona Sen. John McCain appears to be trying to distance himself a bit from his support of the Bush administration's handling of the war in Iraq.
McCain told The Politico he blames Vice President Cheney for what McCain called the "witch's brew" of a "terribly mishandled" war.
McCain also told the new on-line politicial news site that Donald Rumsfeld will rank in history among the worst of the country's defense secretaries.
The GOP presidential hopeful also said the U.S. could be on the "verge" of defeat in Iraq and that he is not at all sure the so-called troop surge will be large enough to make a difference.
McCain also, for the first time, said the U.S. might have to consider redeploying its troops to Iraq's borders to keep outsiders from making the situation in Iraq worse.
22 January 2007
Fearing the race will be all but over by the time their residents vote, California and Florida are taking steps to move up their presidential primaries.
In California, the state legislature is considering a plan to move up the 2008 primary to Feb. 3 from June 5.
Menawhile an effort is underway in Florida to move up that state's primary from the first week of March to a date within seven days of the New Hampshire primary, set for Jan. 22.
In addition to New Hampshire, the Iowa and Nevada caucuses and the South Carolina primary are all set for January.
The anticipated moves by Florida and California would probably bolster the candidates with the most cash, since California and Florida are expensive places to campaign in. Plus it would require more criss-crossing of the country.
But, by adding California and Florida to the early mix, we'd be getting a better read on how a candidate would do in a general election, since their populations are much more diverse than in any of the other early primary states.
It wouldn't hurt to throw an industrial Midwestern state like Ohio or Michigan into the earlier primary season to truly get reading of what the electorate is thinking.
Adding variety, and validity to the early primaries is long overdue. Residents of New Hampshire and Iowa will bitch and moan about tradition and their right to be first. But the truth is those states are not good measures of the country as a whole and the current primary system does not serve most Americans well.
If they can move the Browns out of Cleveland and if they can tear down and replace Yankee Stadium we could certainly afford to lose the "tradition" that comes with allowing two small, ethnically vanilla states decide our presidential candidates for us.
- Edwards 48%, McCain 43%
- Edwards 48%, Giuliani 45%
- Clinton 48%, McCain 47%
- Giuliani 48%, Clinton 47%
- Obama 46%, McCain 44%
- Giuliani 47%, Obama 45%
21 January 2007
CLINTON, GIULIANI LEAD IN LATEST ABC-WASHINGTON POST POLL
New Yorkers Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani lead their respective parties in the latest presidential preference polling by ABC News and the Washington Post.
Clinton has a more-than-two-to-one lead among the Dems. Here' are the numbers
- Hillary Clinton 41
- Barack Obama 17
- John Edwards 11
- Al Gore 10
- Kerry 8
The GOP side is a bit closer, at least at the top, with Giuliani holding a seven point lead over John McCain.
- Rudy Giuliani 34
- John McCain 27
- Mitt Romney 9
- Newt Gingrich 9
In one-on-one matchups, Clinton would beat Giuliani by two points and McCain by five, while Obama would top McCain by two but finds himself four points behind Giuliani.
OUR OWN LITTLE POLL
It's all in fun and there's no scientific validity to it, but I'm sure you've noticed our on-site preference poll. For the past two months we had a list of ten hopefuls. Here's how you voted over that period:
John Edwards 33%
Barack Obama 24%
Al Gore 22%
Rudy Giuliani 9%
Hillary Clinton 4%
John McCain 2%
Joe Biden 2%
Chuck Hagel 2%
Mitt Romney 0%
Condoleezza Rice 0%
We've updated our list a bit and started a new poll. We've dropped Rice and added Sam Brownback, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, Bill Richardson, Tom Vilsack and Dennis Kucinich. Take a look at cast a vote for the fun of it.
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson officially announced today he is forming an exploratory committee as a first step in his bid to win the Democratic presidential nomination in 2006.
20 January 2007
RICHARDSON TO FORM EXPLORATORY COMMITTEE
The Associated Press is reporting that Richardson will announce tomorrow that he has formed an exploratory committee, the first step toward becoming the first Hispanic president. Richardson is scheduled to appear on ABC's "This Week" tomorrow so you might expect an announcement then.
While Jackson appears to be ready to all-but-endorse Obama, The Los Angeles Times reports other black leaders have not been so quick to jump on board, with some looking toward John Edwards instead.
14 January 2007
Signs point to a Barack Obama announcement this week, and it appears that announcement will confirm he intends to run for president.
Politicalwire reports Obama is rumored to be preparing to declare his candidacy on Oprah Whinfrey's show this week.Ben Smith, one-time reporter and blogger for the (NY) Daily News and about to join a start-up online newspaper in Washington, is reporting on New York political blog Room Eight that Obama has been calling family, friends and likely large donors to tell them he's running.
The Associated Press reports Obama his hired policy, press and research staff for a presidential run.
The Chigaco Tribune today profiles Obama's inner circle.
And the Illinois Democrat has also begun running Web ads.
EDWARDS IN HARLEM THIS AFTERNOON
Another of the top contenders for the Democratic nomination, John Edwards, will take to the pulipt in Harlem this afternoon to discuss the Iraq war and his efforts to get Congress to block funding for President Bush's planned escalation of the war. He'll be speakking at the fabled Riverside Church, where 40 years ago Dr. Martin Luther King urged oppoosition to the Vietnam War.
Edwards has recorded a preview of his speech, and you can watch it live here at 4:00 pm.
WAR ESCALATION PLAN ALREADY REFLECTING ON '08 RACE
The New York Times has a good wrap-up today on where there major presidential candidates of both parties stand on Bush's escalation plan. The story theorizes that Republican John McCain and Democrat Hillary Clinton have taken the most politically precarious positions.
12 January 2007
11 January 2007
(Updating with other candidates' reaction to Bush plan and new AP-IPSOS poll)
Count Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards among those who see little merit in President Bush's plan to escalate troop deployment in Iraq - also known by Tony Snow and the mainstream media parrots as a troop "surge."
Edwards has sent out an mass e-mail to supporters asking them to sign a petition to get Congress to refuse to provide funding for the troop increase.
"The situation in Iraq demands a political solution -- not an escalation of the war that our generals agree won't help," Edwards said the letter to supporters. "Escalating the war in Iraq sends the wrong message to the Iraqi people, to the region, and the world."
Taegen Goddard's Political Wire has a nice quick summary of the various 2008 presidential hopefuls and where they stand on Bush's escalation of the war.
All the Democrats are opposed and Tom Vilsack has called on Congress to block the extra funding needed to support the troop increase.
All the Republican hopefuls support Bush plan except for Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas.
Hotline On Call had a more comprehensive, some would say exhuastive, recap of the various candidates' comments:
Sen. Barack Obama: "I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse: I think it takes pressure off the Iraqis to arrive at the sort of political accommodation that every observer believes is the ultimate solution to the problems we face there" (MSNBC, 1/10.
Tom Vilsack: "It's obvious that the president has only been listening to advisers that agree with him. And I strongly disagree with folks who say this is a change of strategy, this is a new strategy. This is simply the same old strategy with just 20,000 more lives at risk" (Hannity & Colmes, FOX 1/10)
John Edwards: "What's happened is that the trust in the president has eroded. And America has to feel in their gut that whether he's right or wrong the president's telling the truth. And instead of all of the statistics and information that he had in his speech, he should have said, 'The situation is very bad in Iraq right now. We're doing the best we can with a difficult situation." (CNN, 1/10)
Sen. John McCain: "I've been calling for the increases, but I believe that this can succeed. I really do. I believe that it's not just an increase in troops: it's a change in strategy" (FOX, 1/10)
Rudy Giuliani: "You always have to make readjustments when you're at war, and we are at war. ... I think the president did the right thing tonight. And I think the important thing here -- the increase in troops, critical and important, but the most important thing is the change in strategy. (Hannity & Colmes, FOX 1/10)
Mike Huckabee : "I think we have to give the commander-in-chief an opportunity to make this succeed. You said people have said he's stubborn. That's a good quality in an executive. You don't want someone who changes the course of a military every time there's a new opinion poll" (Hannity & Colmes, FOX 1/10)
Newt Gingrich: "There was a humility in tonight's speech. A recognition that some of the things he most wanted had not happened. And that the plans were not working the way he'd hoped for. I thought this was a more contrite and more dedicated George W. Bush saying to the country this is hard problem but we have to get in it together. And I thought in that sense it was a strong speech." (Hannity & Colmes, FOX 1/10)
RASMUSSEN POLL SHOWS LITTLE SUPPORT FOR WAR ESCALATION
A poll released yesterday by Rasmussen Reports shows only 31% of Americans support escalating the war in Iraq by sending more troops, while 56% of those polled think we should be reducing troop levels.
The poll also shows that 78% of Americans think U.S. troops will still be in Iraq at the end of this year.
AP-IPSOS POLL OFFERS SIMILAR RESULTS
AP-Ipsos released results of a similar poll, with 70% of Americans saying they oppose sending more troops to Iraq and the same number saying they don't think the additonal troops will help.
The poll also indicates that just 35% of Americans now think going to war in Iraq was the right thing to do in the first place (a lowest-ever number on that question) and 60% think it is unlikely a stable, democratic government will be forged in Iraq.
Bush's overall approval rating in this poll was 32% - a new low in AP-Ipsos polling on Bush.
GILMORE FORMS EXPLORATORY COMMITTEE
Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore filed papers (scroll down after you click) to form an exploratory committee as he mulls a run for the GOP nomination.
Gilmore hopes to be the elusive "true conservative" in the race.
RASMUSSEN POLL BAD NEWS FOR ROMNEY
Another hopeful for the coveted "true-conservative" niche in the GOP race got some bad news in a recent Rasmussen Reports poll.
07 January 2007
Delaware Sen. Joe Biden made it official today. He's running for president. The Democrat made the announcement on NBC's Meet the Press.
There was no coyness. Just a simple yes I'm running and I'll file the papers by the end of the month.
Biden, the new chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, no doubt will run on his foreign-policy experience and senior statesman status.
CLINTON HAS HIGHEST 'FAVORABLE' RATING IN LATEST CBS POLL
New York Sen. Hillary Clinton has the highest 'favorable' rating in a CBS News poll released over the weekend at 43%. She's also near the top in the 'unfavorable' category, at 38%. Both figures have alot to do with the fact that she is well known to the electorate.
Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and Arizona Sen. John McCain have the highest rating among Republicans.
The ratings for the last two Democratic presidential nominees, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts and former V.P. Al Gore are more negative than positive.
Former Democratic V.P. candidate John Edwards, who has already announced his decision to run, has the second-highest favorable rating amng Democrats at 32%.
Illinois Senator Barack Obama has a 28/10 favorable-unfavorable rating, but more than six in ten Americans say they don't know enough about him to offer an opinion.
Joe Biden, who announced today, is not well-known despite his many years in the Senate. Some 77% say they don't know enough about him to have an opinion.
All other candidates, Democrat and Republican, have "don't know/no opinion" ratings of 85% or higher.
RELIGIOUS RIGHT FEELING LEFT OUT
Time magazine reports this week the religious right seems to be a cause without a candidate for the 2008 presidential race. With Rick Santorum and George Allen on the scrap heap, Time says evangelicals appear to like Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, but have doubts he can win, while they're not too thrilled with the other likely candidates.
05 January 2007
Mitt Romney, an as-yet-undeclared candidate for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination has signed a no-new-taxes pledge waived under his nose by anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist.
Like his evolving positions on gay rights and abortion, the Boston Globe reports today that Romney's position on taking such a pledge has also morphed in recent years.
As governor of Massachusetts, the paper reports, Romney refused to tie his hands by signing a similar pledge but had no qualms about doing so as he positions himself as a conservative for the 2008 campaign.
HILLARY READY - TO GET BACK TO WORK IN THE SENATE
As the new Congress got under way this week, all eyes were on New York Sen. Hillary Clinton for signs she has made up her mind about her plans for 2008.
Richard French of upstate-New York cable network RNN tried to get Clinton to talk about those plans but found the senator more focused on the present. Clinton told French she sees no real benefit to bumping up the troop levels in Iraq, a move President Bush is expected to announce next week.
OBAMA SAID TO BE NEARING A DECISION
Illinois Sen. Barack Obama is said to be ready to announce his decision about an '08 bid for the Democratic nomination "very soon." Chicago TV station WMAQ reports a political insider who has already agreed to work for Obama tipped the station about the impending decision.
THOMPSON BANKING ON IOWA
Former Wisconsin governor and Bush cabinet member Tommy Thompson is putting a lot of his marbles in Iowa. The Des Moines Register reports the former head of the Department of Health and Human Services has pledged to make at least one trip a week into Iowa between now and the GOP caucuses there next January.
NEW HAMPSHIRITES SAY RUDY'S READY
While the big ball was droppingt in Times Square the other night, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani was serving sushi to a group of New Hampshire GOP pols in his nearby office. The (NY) Daily News reports the out-of-towners came away convinced that Giuliani is running for the Republican presidential nomination.
McCAIN MONOPOLY IN SOUTH CAROLINA
Columbia, S.C. newspaper The State is reporting that Arizona Sen. John McCain has already bagged the lion's share of endorsements by the state's top GOP campaign donors. Much of McCain's financial team in South Carolina worked with President Bush in the 2000 election. It was Bush's huge win over McCain in the state that set Bush up to win the GOP nomination
CHRIS CILLIZZA'S TOP FIVE
Washington Post reporter Chris Cillizza, who pens the paper's political blog The Fix, did some Friday handicapping of the 2008 races.
Cillizza puts Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican John McCain at the top of their respective parties' list of hopefuls. No surprise there. But his rankings do offer a bit of the unexpected if you are a poll watcher.
On the GOP side, The Fix puts Mitt Romney - currently faltering in the polls - ahead of Rudy Giuliani. Despite a rough month for Romney, Cillizza says the former Massachusetts governor has a strong organization and enough financial backing to keep him nipping at McCain's heels. On the other hand, Cillizza seems to be with the mainstream pundits who just don't see how the socially liberal Giuliani can win the Republican nomination.
Among Democrats, John Edwards - who is quietly running a very solid early campaign - is listed second, ahead of media sensation Barack Obama. Both Obama and Edwards have drawn large, enthusiastic crowds in recent trips to early-primary states
03 January 2007
Well, we're finally back from the holidays. Hope yours were enjoyable and relaxing.
A few things happened while we were away. Nothing too earthshaking, but we'll go at them from newest to oldest and then get back to up to speed tomorrow.
ROMNEY IS IN-ISH
No surprise here. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, fresh off a family vacation to Utah, formed an exploratory committee, the final step before a full-blown entry into the race. At one point it was reported that Romney would skip the step and jump right in to the race for the GOP presidential nomination.
THE GIULIANI PAPERS
The New York Daily News reported Tuesday that it obtained a "lost" copy of a 140-page playbook for the Rudy Giuliani presidential campaign. Today, the paper reported that Giuliani claimed the document was stolen. The New York Post, meanwhile, reports the Giuliani people believe the book was pilfered by aides to Florida's new Republican governor Charles Crist during a campaign visit by Giuliani on behalf of Crist. Lost or stolen, The Daily News reports today the incident doesn't reflect well on Giuliani.
Interesting how life does NOT imitate art in this case. If you remember on the final season of the West Wing fictitious GOP presidential Candidate Sen. Arnold Vinick's (Alan Alda) top aide found a briefcase full of sensative documents belonging to Vinick's Democratic opponent Rep. Matt Santos (Jimmy Smitts). After much soul-searching, Vinick gave the briefcase back to Santos without revealing the damaging information it contained.
SURPRISE IN A RECENT POLL
The folks at Giuliani Blog had an interesting post while we were away. According to the blog, an American Research Group poll of early primary/caucus states shows Giuliani ahead in two of the four races (Iowa and Nevada) and John McCain leading in two others (New Hampshire and South Carolina). The two are not far apart in any of the states.
The surprise here is that former House speaker Newt Gingrich is nipping at their heels in two of the races and finishes a solid third in all four, while Mitt Romney is little more than a blip. Romney has been falling steadily in the polls since his perceived flip-flop on gay issues.
WHAT'S THAT TERRORIST LEADER'S NAME AGAIN?
Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama was sitting out the holiday season in Hawaii, trying to stay out of the limelight while he makes a final decision on whether or not to seek the Democratic nomination. But, the Illinois senator was thrust back in the news yesterday, when CNN ran a heading under a story about the fugitive terrorist leader from Saudi Arabia, asking the question "where's Obama?" The Chicago Tribune reports Wolf Blitzer himself called the Illinois senator to apologize for the sticky situation in Wolf's Situation Room.
BUSH FOR V.P.?
As Jeb Bush's tenure as governor of Florida was coming to an end a couple of weeks ago, he made an off-handed comment that he had no future in politics. Well, the New York Times reported recently that Bush didn't mean that exactly. While the presidency seems unlikely - since big brother 'W' has botched things so badly - the Times reports rumblings persist that Jeb may be willing to play second fiddle to John McCain on the GOP ticket in 2008.
EDWARDS OFFICIALLY ENTERS THE FREY
We saved this for last for today's post only because it is the oldest news we're catching up on. Former Democratic vice-presidential candidate John Edwards officially announced his candidacy for the party's presidential nomination just after Christmas. Edwards has been drawing huge crowds in his post-announcement tour of early primary states and is the leader in the most-recent Iowa poll.
The Nation's Web site reported recently that Edwards is offering the progressive wing of the party a lot more this time around than he did when he ran in 2004.